Disclaimer--I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST (I'm just a guy with a webpage). I am providing information to those who could benefit from the use of this supplement. The ECA stack is a potent stimulant that can be dangerous if abused, taken in the wrong conditions, or taken by someone who cannot tolerate it.
I first learned about the ECA stack back in the early 90's through an issue of MuscleMedia 2000. The article argued that a supplement could be made "dirt cheap" that was much more effective at burning fat than anything on the market. Few if any supplement companies were marketing an ECA supplement at the time--most "fat burners" being sold were fairly useless. The magazine provided the ECA formula, which research had demonstrated to be very effective. I tried it, and it worked--it greatly reduced my appetite, and I had plenty of energy to get through a diet.
The ECA stack (in herbal form) then became extremely popular and was manufactured by several supplement companies. It was produced under the name "Ripped Fuel" (Twinlabs), "Xenadrine" (Cytodine), "Dymetadrine Xtreme" (AST), and "Metabolite" (Metabolite was not a full ECA stack, but it did contain ephedra). One company even made a preworkout drink (Ultimate Orange) which contained ephedrine alkaloids. I imagine all of these were fairly good formulas, but I still preferred to make my own ECA stack (I'll explain how and why later).
Now it has come full circle. A few highly publicized deaths have given ephedrine a bad rap, and most supplement companies are avoiding it like the plague (and most of the current "ephedra free fat burners" are WORTHLESS). The FDA has now jumped on it and decided to ban it. I think the FDA made a knee-jerk reaction based on questionable research.
The ban didn't affect over the counter ephedrine pills that I have always used for the stack. But other issues have (more on that later).
The way ECA works:
The ECA stack is a fairly potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. The components work together synergistically; in other words, their combined effect is much greater than the effect of the individual components alone. The effects of the stack are: a major decrease in appetite, thermogenesis (creation of heat), which causes the body to burn more calories; increased fat burning and muscle sparing through the stimulation of beta-receptor sites.
The dosage for ECA:
20 mgs of ephedrine and 200 mgs of caffeine are the central ingredients.
Aspirin is supposed to add to the stack's effectiveness by decreasing the body's natural resistance to the stimulant effects. The more I've researched, however, the less I'm convinced that it is necessary or helpful. I can only say from personal experience that aspirin seems to make little or no difference.
If you decide to use aspirin, I would recommend the smaller dosage/pills ("baby aspirin"). I think taking three adult aspirin a day for several days is not a good idea.
The stack can be taken 2-3 times a day, depending on one's tolerance. The first dose is usually taken in the morning, and subsequent doses are spread out over 4-6 hours. The ECA stack should never be taken late in the afternoon (after 3-4 p.m.) as this will cause insomnia.
Where you can get the components:
By the way, I'm also not a lawyer. Check your local laws and see if ephedrine is legal where you are.
Ephedrine has become increasingly difficult to acquire since I first wrote this post. I could just walk into a gas station and buy them back in the early 90's.
One way to get Ephedrine HCL is to look for Primatene tablets at your local drug store (if they will allow you to buy them).
Another option is Bronkaid at your local drug store. Bronkaid is Ephedrine Sulfate (not HCL), but most people seem to get comparable results from it.
All ephedrine products now have guaifenesin, some type of decongestant drug.
You can buy generic caffeine tablets and aspirin about anywhere. I have always preferred the "home made" version because it is a lot cheaper and it packs more "punch" than the supplement versions did.
I recommend that you buy Ephedrine tablets, not Ephreda or Ma Huang (herbal), not anything that mentions "alkaloids." As I've said, the herbal forms just aren't as effective, and you can't always be sure of the exact dosage you'll be getting of the active ingredients.
Will I get "ripped" on the ECA stack without changing my diet?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! Much of the stack's effectiveness is in its appetite suppressant effects. If you consume more calories than you use, your body will not use fat as fuel--period. You may lose a marginal amount of fat due to the increased number of calories burned (through thermogenesis), but don't expect to sport washboard abdominals just by taking a few pills. The ECA stack is a supplement, not a magic bullet.
Who should not use the ECA stack (keep in mind that I'M NOT A DOCTOR, so this is just my opinion):
Someone with heart problems or high blood pressure should definitely stay away from the ECA stack. It should not be taken by pregnant women or people with thyroid problems. There may be other condtions I'm not aware of which make it unsafe to take the stack (remember, I'm not a doctor).
I also would not recommend it for anyone under 19 or 20. I don't think its a good idea for teenagers in their growing years to use it.
The ECA stack should not be taken during the summer months--remember, this supplement is thermogenic! I believe some of the heat stroke deaths related to ECA are simply a matter of people getting overheated and dehydrated without realizing it. Do NOT use it if, for example, you are outside playing sports in the summer months (August football camp, for example--DANGEROUS). In tropical climates it may never be safe to take the ECA stack.
Last but not least, recovering addicts should steer clear of the stack as it will reactivate their addiction.
I would recommend someone try a half a dose initially to test tolerance. If it is well tolerated, work up to a full dose.
Remember you need a negative calorie balance in order to lose fat. I'd recommend the Renegade Diet if you want to transform your body. I think this strategy would work very well with the stack.